Science and Technology

The future of particle physics in Europe

The European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) presented the update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics that will guide the future of particle physics in Europe. The videoconference took place this Friday, June 19. Following this meeting, on July 2, Técnico will host a session dedicated to exploring the impact of this strategy in Portugal, which will be attended by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, and CERN’s Director-General, Fabiola Gianotti, who will participate remotely in the session.

The process of updating the European Strategy for Particle Physics aims to define the long-term goals of the discipline and pursue a coherent science policy in Europe. The recommendations highlight the scientific impact of particle physics, as well as its technological, societal and human capital.

The highest scientific priorities identified in this update are the study of the Higgs boson and the exploration of the high-energy frontier. These are two crucial and complementary ways to address the open questions in particle physics. “The Strategy is above all driven by science and thus presents the scientific priorities for the field,” declares Ursula Bassler, President of the CERN Council. in a statement.

The successful completion of the High-Luminosity LHC in the coming decade, for which upgrade work is currently in progress at CERN, should remain the focal point of European particle physics.

The document also highlights the need to pursue an electron-positron collider acting as a “Higgs factory”, which will have a luminosity 10 times higher than that of the current LHC that lies in a tunnel of 27 kilometres and is the largest machine in the world.

The Strategy also highlights the importance of reinforcing research and development (R&D) in advanced particle accelerators, as well as in computing infrastructures.

“This is a very ambitious strategy, which outlines a bright future for Europe and for CERN with a prudent, step-wise approach. We will continue to invest in strong cooperative programmes between CERN and other research institutes in CERN’s Member States and beyond,” declares CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti. “These collaborations are key to sustained scientific and technological progress and bring many societal benefits.”

Mário Pimenta, Técnico professor, Portuguese Delegate to the CERN Council and president of the Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics (LIP), believes that this Strategy “will explore new frontiers of knowledge and will keep Europe at the forefront of science and technology”.

The main goal is that CERN and Europe carry out this ambitious programme on particle physics. The High-Luminosity LHC will operate until the end of the 2030. Until the end of the century we have basically two main objectives in Physics: understanding the Precision Higgs Frontier and exploring new energy frontiers. This will obviously have an impact in Portugal, namely on research but also on training and in industry.

The update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics announced today got under way in September 2018, when the CERN Council, comprising representatives from CERN’s Member and Associate Member States, established a European Strategy Group (ESG) to coordinate the process. The group is formed by 23 member states and eight associate members, including Russia, USA and India. Portugal is represented by LIP.

The session that will be held at Técnico – CTN Campus, on July 2, at 2:30, will be chaired by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education and will help to understand the impact of these strategies in Portugal. Due to the global COVID-19 situation, the number of participants at CTN campus will be limited. The session will be live streamed.